Setting our New Years resolutions are easy, but somehow we always manage to fall off the wagon by the time February rolls around. Lucky for you, Chris Bailey, author of “Hyperfocus: How to Be More Productive in a World of Distraction” knows all too well about following through with the short-term and even the longer-term goals.
And it all has do with transforming your attention. You’ll find that the more carefully you manage your attention, the more effectively you’ll be managing your life and living a more meaningful one too.
Here are Bailey’s tips for honing your skills and achieving more next year in all areas of your life:
The Work Life:
Try email spreads
At the start of each hour, set a timer for 15 or 20 minutes, and in that time, you blow through as much email as you possibly can. People only have to wait 40-45 minutes for a response and at the same time, you are able to defend most of your time against distractions such as email. It’s a methodology by which you can stay on top of everything on your plate while carving out time to focus as well.
- On average, when we’re working in front of the computer, we can’t focus on one thing for more than 40 seconds before we switch to doing something else. I think bringing some awareness to how often we switch between things is important. So one tactic I love in achieving that awareness is to keep a tally of how often you check for new email messages. You begin to check only if you have the time, attention and energy.
- I meditate in the middle of the day as a work break during the week. I take two half hour lunches instead of one hour and meditate for half of it. You recharge your focus and attention when you meditate in the middle of the day. I think guided meditations are a wonderful way of beginning because they not only guide you through meditating but they also give you tips on how to meditate along the way. If you expose yourself to a lot of different ones, you will learn to become kinder to your mind.
The Family Life:
Create a disconnection ritual
- So often, when we’re with somebody we’re not actually there with them, our mind is somewhere else. I think a big part of this is lowering how stimulated our mind is by default. I also think compartmentalizing work when you get home is important. I use a daily shut off ritual, a disconnection ritual. For example, every day between the hours of 8pm and 8am I totally disconnect from the internet. I found myself instead of looking down at a screen, I look outward to the world.
Your Mental Health:
Spend less time on social media
- We don’t realize how these digital technologies surrounding us affect our happiness. One study I encountered the other day found that we spend three times the amount of time on Apps that make us unhappy instead of happy. I would say any social media ap. I think it’s highly subjective and that we do really need to think about the way the different apps makes us feel. I would recommend paying attention how the different things you consume make you feel.
Finding Motivation in Any Aspects of life:
Set daily intentions
- In terms of getting the motivation, one of my favorite rituals is to set 3 intentions at the start of the day, 3 work intentions and 3 personal intentions. You stop wishful thinking and you begin thinking about how you’re going to act upon achieving those larger goals. Choosing only three allows you separate what actually is important from what just feels important. Sometimes the smaller intention, the better, because then you’re more likely to do it if it’s tough. I think the key is choosing everyday how you are going to act towards those goals.